I was excited. Thanks to my beloved’s generosity, I had birthday money to spend. On a previous visit to my favourite store, a number of books had caught my eye. And they’d sent me a voucher—25% off all purchases plus a free cuppa as a birthday gift. So off I went on an exciting spending spree. The trees waved their arms at me in gladness. The sun smiled. Streams gurgled. And my heart sang praise songs all the way.
By the time I reached the bookshop it was past 11 a.m and my stomach was rumbling. I ordered a gluten free lemon slice with a mug of English breakfast tea. I sat down at a table, opened my Bible, put on my earplugs and switched on my mp3 player. My cuppa took ten minutes to arrive and I was ready for it. I sipped the tea. Ah! Just what I needed. But … where was my cake?
I tried to be patient. After ten more minutes, I couldn’t concentrate on my Quiet Time. Serving a readymade slice of cake should take only two minutes surely? Not twenty. I waited a little more, then walked to the counter to inquire after it. I received a mumbled response. Hmmm. I waited another ten minutes and asked again. This time, I was heard. The cake was served on a plate and placed on the hatch connecting the kitchen to the café. But it didn't make its way to my table. I walked up to the counter a third time and asked if I could take my piece of cake. The girl at the café muttered a quick ‘sorry’ and nodded. The cake was yummy and the tea refreshing, but the good service I’d expected had been sadly lacking.
No matter, I thought. Two happy hours of browsing followed and I soon filled a shopping basket. I had two Bibles, ten books (for myself and gifts for friends), cards, bookmarks and a few knick knacks. There were four or five CD’s I wanted to check if suitable, but the headphones provided didn’t work. I asked the sales lady present. She told me to go to the front of the store. I was rather taken aback at her brusque manner.
I waited almost an hour before another customer finished with her headphones and I pounced on them. But oh dear! There was no sound on them either. What was going on? I did a little more browsing. Then, just before I presented my bulging shopping basket at the sales desk, I decided to have one last attempt at checking my CD’s. This time, I was pleasantly surprised. A friendly face smiled at me.
“Can I help you?”
Her cordial tone warmed me. The caring sales girl immediately tracked one of my CD’s and I had a listen to its music. She explained at length that some of the music didn’t play on that system, so I’d need to take those CDs to the front. At last I knew why I’d earlier been urged to go to the front desk. A little later, I went forward to pay for my purchases. That same charming girl served me. She was polite, smiling and extremely helpful. If not for her, I’d have left the bookshop that day very disappointed at their service.
‘Thank you Madison. You’ve been very helpful and I’d like to commend you’.
Madison beamed. I'm so glad I made her smile. She deserved it. I wrote to the bookshop later to tell them what a breath of fresh air Madison had been. Exceptionally welcoming. Obviously desiring to serve. She went out of her way to help me. 10 minutes with this young lady had thankfully over-written the former 110 minutes of substandard service.
Can one person make a difference? The Bible is full of people who did. There was Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, David, Esther … to name just a few. And how about St Paul, Peter, James and John? Mary Magdeline. Andrew. Barnabus. Timothy. Even a prostitute called Rahab. And more. Lots more. They all made a difference.
Do you wonder if your life has significance? Don’t wonder any more. One Hitler caused havoc in our world. One Mother Teresa showed us how to love. One man, Jesus died for the sins of all. He changed the course of history and offered us the gift of eternal life. There is one you. And yes, you can make a difference.
I know you will.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Collosians 3:17